I usually read 60-70 books a year. This year, I challenged myself to read 100—two books per week. On December 4, 2015, I finished reading my 100th book! (Note: As of Dec. 13, I’ve read 102 books).
I write full time (this year I wrote seven books), and although I do know authors who read more than I do, I’m often asked how I can read so much. Here’s how:
- Having an actual goal helped. You have to believe you can before you can.
- I read for entertainment. I don’t go to movies, and I often read instead of watching TV.
- Many of the books are novellas, 75-200 pages.
- Obviously, I’m a fast reader, and the better a book , the faster I read. The difference between a 4-star and a 5-star read is that while a 4-star is interesting, I can put it down. I have to finish a 5-star book. It pulls me away from everything else. I don’t finish 3-star books. This year, 36 books ended up in my DNF file. Some of them I read halfway through and realized I wasn’t enjoying what I was reading or I was bored. I stopped.
- I don’t have kids at home who require feeding, care, and maintenance.
- I often read with a purpose in mind. When I decided to write a cyborg romance, I started reading all the cyborg SFRs I could to learn more about the subgenre.
- Traveling helped a lot. I get a lot of reading done at the airport and on the airplane. My husband and I took three one-week trips and one three-week trip in 2015. Just when I started to fall behind in my reading, we’d go somewhere and I’d catch up.
Among the 100 books, I read
62 64 different authors. I read multiple books by 17 authors. Most of the latter were authors I know personally. I wanted to support my friends. The most-read author was Eve Langlais, with 7 books. She’s not a personal friend, but I got hooked on her More than Machines cyborg series and had to read every book . It’s what inspired me to write my own cyborg series!
Because of my interest in writing sci-fi romance, I read more SFR than any other genre this year. Here’s the breakdown (counts will add up to more than 100 because some books are classified in two genres, e.g. spanking romance and historical romance):
- Sci-fi romance/Sci-fi – 37
- Spanking romance – 15
- Paranormal – 13
- Nonfiction –
- BDSM – 8
- Contemporary romance – 6
- Historical romance – 4
- Urban Fantasy – 2
- Other (genres in which I read one book) –
On December 14, 2015, I’ll announce my most favorite favorites with the 5th Annual Best Books of the Year Awards. Although selection is subjective, I do have criteria:
- A book doesn’t need to be perfect, but it does need to be well-written, in terms of strong, motivated characters and a solid plot and good wordsmithing. Some books have AWESOME story concepts, but fail in the execution. Some books have excellent writing with brilliant metaphors and scintillating verbs, but the story isn’t that compelling. I’d rather have a compelling story than perfect writing, but poor writing can ruin a story, so both need to be solid.
- A book has to have legs, staying power in my memory. Some books are like cotton candy. Sweet at the time, but then they melt away. When I look at my reading list months later, if I can’t remember what a book was about, it’s not going to make the awards list.
- The award winners weren’t necessarily published in 2015, but rather, that’s when I read them.
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